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Erdogan Urges Syria to 'Silence Arms Immediately'

Turkey's prime minister called Sunday for an end to the bloody crackdown on protestors in Syria, warning the regime could face the same fate as recently ousted governments in the Arab world.

"A regime cannot survive by force, brutality, by shooting and killing unarmed people taking to the streets. The only solution is to silence arms immediately and listen to the demands of the people," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised address to the nation.

"We saw the end of those who did not choose this way in Tunis and Egypt, and now we observe with sorrow what is being lived in Libya," Erdogan said.

Erdogan made a similar call to authorities in Yemen.

"We remind this truth to the Syrian and Yemeni governments, as we did before with the administrations in Egypt and Tunisia," he said.

"It is necessary to know how to take lessons and stop this merciless violence against civilians, who have no other intention but to voice their demands," he said.

Earlier Sunday Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Turkey had lost confidence in the Syrian regime.

"Actually (the situation in Syria) has reached a level that everything is too little, too late. We lost our confidence," Anatolia news agency quoted Gul as saying.

"Everyone should know that we are with the Syrian people ... What is fundamental is the people," he said.

Ankara, whose ties with Damascus have flourished in recent years, has repeatedly called on President Bashar al-Assad to initiate reforms but has stopped short of calling for his departure.

Meanwhile about 150 Syrian dissidents based in Turkey gathered in downtown Istanbul on Sunday to protest against Assad's regime, chanting slogans and brandishing banners in Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish.

The protestors, including women wearing black veils and headscarves and many children, chanted "Murderer Bashar get out of Syria" and "Bashar in his last days; we want the death penalty for him".

The group included many who had recently fled the bloodshed in their country.

"I am here to side with my people," said 21-year-old Kinddy Adday, who escaped the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour a month ago with his family.

The United Nations says more than 2,200 people have been killed since anti-regime protests erupted in mid-March in Syria.

Yemen has been gripped by political turmoil since an uprising against the 33-year-old rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, now recovering from bomb blast wounds, erupted in January. Hundreds have died in battles between security forces and protesters, and between security forces and al-Qaida fighters.

Source: Agence France Presse


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